Finding investors is probably one of the more difficult activities you will have to do as long as you own a business. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting a new business and need startup funding or have been in business for years. Locating organizations or individuals willing to invest in a business is the easy step. Convincing them to actually give you the money is the hard one.
There are three ways to get money for your business. You can use your personal resources. You can bring in investors who take part ownership. You can get a loan in which the investor requires payback but not business ownership. Since most people aren’t millionaires, the majority of business funding for start up or expansion comes from outside the business.
Networking with the Right People
Investors come in all shapes and sizes. For example, you can bring in a partner who shares equal decision making authority in the form of an equal partner, but many entrepreneurs prefer to maintain control. But there are other ways to bring in partners without giving up the majority control of the business. For example, you can find equity partners who take a less than 50% ownership stake and will function as silent partners. They have no interest in day-to-day operations as long as their investment brings expected returns.
If you have no interest in bringing in partners, there is a network of organizations, funders, banks, private investors and even other firms looking for ways to earn greater returns than they can get in the marketplace. That is especially true today with interest rates near zero and an uncertain recovery underway. They include business incubators, angel investors, royalties agreements, Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs), venture capital and others. If you are not familiar with any of these sources then you are arbitrarily limiting your search for investors.
The network of funders also includes business loans from banks or other commercial institutions. Many entrepreneurs avoid banks and commercial institutions believing they will not qualify for funding. But there is money available and by developing a high quality detailed business plan with the right elements, banks are much more likely to approve new loans. Assuming up front you will be turned down is self-defeating.
Give Investors Want They Need to Know in Your Business Plan
A good idea for a startup business or for business expansion is not enough. Investors will look for certain things before even considering your ideas whether they are angel investors or equity partners or banks when it comes to business funding.
- Your personal qualities as evidenced by a background check
- The ability of business decision makers to successfully steer the new business or project to success while protecting funding investors have put into the business as proven by past experience
- Likelihood the business or project will be able to pay off the loan or return investor money with interest
- Ability to create an agreement that is acceptable to both the investor and the entrepreneur
- Availability of collateral depending on the type of funding
It doesn’t matter if you search for angel investors or venture capital, it will be necessary to have a well thought out business plan that addresses these components. With a good business plan, you can then join the network of people and organizations that enable new ideas to hit the market and businesses to grow through business loans and a variety of other funding sources.
Shorten the Search Time With an Intermediary
If you don’t know how to find available startup funding or you need the money quickly, your best chance of success is using an intermediary. Though you pay a small fee for the service, an intermediary helps people become imbedded in the network of investors and funders which will greatly increase chances of finding the one or more who can support your business plan.
More detailed information and useful advice about investors for your business can be found at http://www.funded.com.